Teaching Is Undoing




Our Muay Thai coach is on vacation. I’ve been given the honor not only to take his place and run group training during his absence, but to work with some of his private 1-on-1 students as well for a couple of weeks.


In working with both the group and the individual students, I find myself unable to separate the life coach from the Muay Thai coach. Yes, I’m teaching technique. That’s the equivalent of me teaching you how to do the 1-2-3 system or dots. But through the process I’m very strongly aware of the challenge that I represent to each student. Just like in coaching, the character they see in front of them is an embodiment of aspects of themselves that they need to either face or accept and embrace. That is, if they want to be the best fighters they can be. Some students are being pushed, shoved, hit. Sometimes taunted. Some students are experiencing a lot of slowing things down and being provided a lot of encouragement and validation. Some of them see me smile throughout, some of them probably think I have anger issues (which I promise you, I don’t). I’m not one to toot my own horn, but I know when I’m really good at something. I know I’m a really good musician. I also know I’m really good at understanding personalities and how to help them undo aspects of themselves that are providing them with their unique challenges. Teaching is undoing. This is the truth. It takes me back to many conversations I’ve had with Dennis about the “avatar” we intuitively put in front of each and every coaching client. Keyword: Intuitively. There’s no formula. Intuition can certainly be developed, though. I would argue that it can sometimes be developed to the point where you’d be comfortable depending on it more often than your analytical thinking. It starts with understanding your own ego, “undoing” what needs to be undone within yourself constantly and consistently and through the process allowing your mind to depend on a database much bigger than your ego would allow.